Today’s Sunday Reader Question is actually a question I asked myself (yeah, I cheated on the SRQ, get over it). I will be going to Oceania in May, and decided I wanted to go to New Caledonia. Qantas, a OneWorld partner, flies to New Caledonia, and therefore should be bookable on BA Avios. Unfortunately, NOU (Noumea Airport) doesn’t show up on the BA Avios search tool, nor do a number of other airports served by Qantas within Oceania and Australia. So I asked myself: how do I book BA Avios tickets on Qantas in Australia/Oceania?
When I’m searching for OneWorld inventory, I typically rely upon the BA search tool, which I find pretty accurate (except for Cathay Pacific seats, where BA often shows phantom availability). However, when I try to search seats to NOU, an airport served by Oneworld carrier Qantas, the BA system doesn’t recognize it as an airport and instead refers me to ALY airport (Nouzha Airport, Alexandria, Egypt).
So how do I search for award seats? I would recommend using Japan Airline’s Mileage Bank (JAL), which accurately searches OneWorld award inventory. I run my searches through KVS Tools, however, you can do the same search on the JAL website.
If I search award availability between Sydney SYD and Noumea NOU, I come up with 6 award seats available on Qantas:
I can then call up BA Avios and spoon-feed them the flight information to book the award using Avios. Tell them the award wasn’t bookable online and they should waive any associated fees.
The BA search tool doesn’t show award seats for the following destination in Oceania: Alice Springs ASP; Ayer’s Rock AYQ; Barcaldine BCI; Blackall BKQ; Broome BME; Bundaberg BDB; Charleville CTL; Dubbo DBO; Emerald EMD; Gladstone GLT; Hamilton Island HTI; Hervey Bay HVB; Lord Howe Island LDH; Mackay MKY; Mildura MQL; Moranbah MOV; Moree MRZ; Mount Isa ISA; Newcastle NTL; Port Hedland PHE; Rockhampton ROK; Roma RMA; Tamworth TMW; Thangool THG; Toowoomba-Brisbane West Wellcamp WTB; Townsville TSV.
So if you’re trying to get to any of the above airports using BA Avios, which often produce the best value for short flights, use JAL to search for award inventory.